Captain Phillips is based on a true story about an American cargo ship (MV Maersk Alabama) that was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009. Apparently this event was the first successful hijacking of an American vessel in two hundred years.
Tom Hanks plays Captain Richard Phillips who was taken hostage along with his crew when the pirates boarded the ship. The crew struggle to control the situation when the pirates appear with their guns blazing. They try to prevent the brigands from climbing onto the ship but fail and are quickly overwhelmed. The crew then have to try to stay alive long enough to be rescued and also try to find a way to fight the pirates if possible.
There are plenty of movies about seventeenth-eighteenth century pirates but few about modern piracy. The fact that this film is based on a real event only adds to the drama seen in the trailer. The sense of isolation that comes from being adrift on a ship and far from land should also add tension. The director Paul Greengrass uses a lot of quick edits, camera pans and some shaky cam effects to add a sense of urgency. Greengrass did a good job when he directed the second and third Bourne films and he obviously learned how to direct an action scene. That experience shows in the trailer and it should make Captain Phillips a thrill to watch. Some viewers may struggle with the shaky cam though as it is a technique that doesn’t appeal to everyone. If the director can use it with restraint here it should be tolerable for those viewers who dislike it.
Tom Hanks looks great as Captain Phillips and he is always on top of his game. He is also talented enough to shine in every role he has done and he always adds a certain amount of depth to his characters. This kind of role would usually go to an actor like Harrison Ford but it is nice to see Hanks doing it here. The supporting cast includes Catherine Keener as Andrea Phillips and Corey Johnson as a crew member on the ship. The film has a fairly small cast which is to be expected considering the film is set on a ship. The lead Somali pirate also stands out in the trailer and he looks like a dangerous man who is not to be trifled with.
The trailer does everything right and should make this film one to look out for when it is released. The talented director, cast and interesting subject material are enough to get fans talking about the film. The movie may also raise a little awareness of a very serious issue. Modern piracy is a serious concern and governments need to look at why the Somalians are driven to hijack and rob ships. Sometimes social problems and poverty can force desperate people to do terrible things. As long as this problem is unresolved more people will suffer on both sides.
Captain Phillips will be released on October 11th so have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.